July 17, 2008
ATLANTA – Today, the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR) and a host of state and federal officials kicked off Georgia’s first farmers market to accept food stamps, a pilot project enabling families of low-income to have access to fresh produce and other foods. The pilot project is a collaboration including DHR’s Office of Financial Services and Division of Family and Children Services, East Atlanta Village Farmers Market, the Food and Nutrition Services of the United States Department of Agriculture and Georgia Organics. The East Village Farmers Market is one of four farmers markets participating in the pilot program throughout the state. Other markets are scheduled to open in Chatham, Wilkes and Walker counties.
“Georgia families will benefit from having better access to good foods and nutrition,” remarked Jim Sanregret, Deputy Commissioner for DHR. “The success of this program is not only important to this community but throughout the state as we plan to expand these markets.”
Here’s how the program works. Food Stamp clients use their electronic benefits transfer card to purchase tokens that can be used to buy food at the community farmers market. Vendors are reimbursed in cash by the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market Manager for the food purchased with tokens at their assigned areas. Only food items eligible under the Food Stamp Program may be purchased with the tokens.
Roberto Salazar, administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, and keynote for the event said, “having local farmers markets participate in the Food Stamp Program is a win-win situation for everyone. “Food Stamp recipients, farmers and local vendors all benefit, and more persons will be encouraged to develop a more nutritious diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables as a result of this initiative.”
For media information, contact:
Kenya Bello, (404) 657-1389